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BBVA Foundation President Carlos Torres Vila presents Noam Chomsky the Frontiers of Knowledge Award

October 30, 2019 GMT
BBVA's new logo (PRNewsfoto/BBVA)
BBVA's new logo (PRNewsfoto/BBVA)

TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 29, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Noam Chomsky received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Humanities and Social Sciences in a ceremony at his home in Tucson, Arizona. BBVA Foundation President Carlos Torres Vila made the special trip to present him the award, as the U.S. linguist was unable to attend the award ceremony in Bilbao last June. “This is a recognition to your unparalleled contributions to the understanding of human language, which have had a tremendous influence in so many fields,” said Torres Vila.

This year marked the first time the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards have included the category of Humanities and Social Sciences. The jury chose Chomsky as its first winner for pioneering new research areas in the humanities, especially in the study of the human brain and cognitive systems that comprise it.

Professor Chomsky, for health reasons, was not able to be in Bilbao, the city that hosted the award ceremony for the first time, instead expressing his gratitude for the recognition by video. Carlos Torres Vila was pleased to visit him in his Tucson residence to present him the €400,000 award in person.

“This is a recognition to your unparalleled contributions to the understanding of human language, which have had a tremendous influence, decisive I would say, in so many fields including not only linguistics, but cognitive science and the philosophies of language and mind,” emphasized the President of the BBVA Foundation. Meanwhile, Professor Chomsky greatly appreciated the award: “Thank you very much. It’s an incredible honor. I am very grateful.”

Language as innate knowledge

Since the end of the 1950s, Chomsky’s research has revealed how the acquisition of language depends on the innate ability of the human mind, which makes it possible to understand and create sentences based on the formal principles of “universal grammar.”

The jury’s records recognized Chomsky’s conclusions as widely accepted, with implications that have led to new research “in a new and fruitful area that covers linguistic theory, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, the philosophy of language and the mind, and cognitive psychology.”

With his vision of language as a product of a pre-programmed ability of the human mind, which it generates with predefined structures, Chomsky made research possible “from both the scientific and humanistic perspectives” which could be considered “humanity’s most distinctive cognitive product,” explain the jury’s records. Thus, language becomes not only an instrument of communication, but a cognitive, biological object emanating from the human brain, and therefore a window into the way the brain works.

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About BBVA

BBVA Group
BBVA (NYSE: BBVA) is a customer-centric global financial services group founded in 1857. The Group has a strong leadership position in the Spanish market, is the largest financial institution in Mexico, it has leading franchises in South America and the Sunbelt Region of the United States. It is also the leading shareholder in Turkey’s Garanti BBVA. Its purpose is to bring the age of opportunities to everyone, based on our customers’ real needs: provide the best solutions, helping them make the best financial decisions, through an easy and convenient experience. The institution rests in solid values: Customer comes first, we think big and we are one team. Its responsible banking model aspires to achieve a more inclusive and sustainable society.

BBVA USA
In the U.S., BBVA is a Sunbelt-based financial institution that operates 642 branches, including 330 in Texas, 89 in Alabama, 63 in Arizona, 61 in California, 45 in Florida, 37 in Colorado and 17 in New Mexico. The bank ranks among the top 25 largest U.S. commercial banks based on deposit market share and ranks among the largest banks in Alabama (2nd), Texas (4th) and Arizona (6th). In the U.S., BBVA has been recognized as one of the leading small business lenders by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and ranked 8th nationally in terms of dollar volume of SBA loans originated in fiscal year 2018.

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